$120 million supersonic private jet Aerion moves ahead for 2025 delivery
Aerion Supersonic, the company behind the $120 million supersonic business jet, is reportedly starting to sign letters of intent with UHNWIs, striving to move ahead with a 2025 delivery date according to Reuters.
"Today we are taking letters of intent which is just essentially buying a slot in the queue" commented Aerion's CCO Ernie Edwards. "It is the ultra-high net worth individuals that we are going after." According to him, the US, Europe and Middle East have proven its strongest market to date with Asia lagging behind, although it is yet unknown how many LOIs have been sold so far.
These documents, however, don't yet represent firm purchase commitments, which will come when Aerion jumps through several hoops in the development and certification stage over the next 18-24 months according to a company spokesperson.
Aerion's plan to develop a supersonic business jet revolves around modifying a GE engine core used by Boeing 737 jets to cut development costs and reach Mach 1.4, ahead of the current standard Mach 0.9 speed. In effect, this would reduce flight time between London and New York by 2 hours.
Priced at $120 million, the 8-11 seat Aerion AS2 jet comes at a premium to other heavy business jets such as the $72 million Global 7500 or $70 million Gulfstream G650ER. Despite its speed, its range will however be capped at 5,300nm at a regular speed and 4,200nm if supersonic, nearly a third less than competing business jets.
Despite many attempts to build a supersonic jet currently underway by a handful of companies, Aerion, a new comer to the field, the startup gains credibility from being backed by billionaire Robert Bass. Valued at $4.9 billion by Forbes, Bass made his fortune through a series of investments in the US. He now chairs the company, saying that the business jet will likely cost near $4 billion to fully develop.